Northern Illinois University                                                    Dustin Berna

Fall 2008                                                                                 Dberna@niu.edu

                                                                                                815-991-5341 (home)

                                                                                                815-753-1022 (office)

Office Location: Zulauf 411

 

Political Science 362: Politics of Developing Areas

 

A global human society based on poverty for many and prosperity for a few, characterized by islands of wealth surrounded by a sea of poverty, is indefensible.

          – President Thabo Mbeki (2002) 

 

Recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable right of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.

     —Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)

 

The ideal form of government is democracy tempered with assassination.

Voltaire

 

Only a government that is rich and safe can afford to be a democracy, for democracy is the most expensive and nefarious kind of government ever heard of on earth.
 
Mark Twain

 

Television has made dictatorship impossible but democracy unbearable.
 
Shimon Peres

 

Course Description: 

 

Comparative politics is the broadest of political science sub-fields, encompassing any phenomena dealing with countries other than the United States.  This course is an advanced seminar in comparative politics dealing specifically with the politics of the developing world and will provide the student a broad-based understanding of their diverse socioeconomic and sociopolitical systems.  We will concentrate on three different regions: the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America. 

Grading:

           

5 short papers:                                    75%                

Participation:                                       25%

 

Regular attendance is mandatory and will be taken at the beginning of each class.  Any student arriving late to class after attendance is taken will be marked absent; there will be no exceptions.  More than 2 absences will result in a five-point reduction on final grade for each additional absence.  Please note that a significant number of absences will result in a failing course grade.  The best way to perform well in this course is to attend and prepare for each class.     

 

25% of your grade is participation.  If you do not attend class then you cannot participate.  For every class you miss you will loose a percentage of the 25% from your final grade. 

 

Paper Requirements:

 

For each of the 5 papers, you are expected to critically evaluate five of the semester’s readings.  Each weekly paper should be between 5-6 pages and consist of two sections.  First, a brief overview of a single reading or several readings, here you are expected to sum-up the author’s major arguments and findings.  Secondly, critically evaluate what you have read and you may be as critical as you wish.  You are encouraged to use previous readings as a starting point for your criticism and you are welcome to bring in ANY outside source.  No student is allowed to hand in more than one paper per week.  This means that if you wait until mid-April to start your papers you will run out of time.

 

The following questions may help you to think of what to include in your papers:  

 

1)      What are the main hypotheses (or arguments) in the week’s reading(s)?

2)      How does this week’s reading fit together (if there is more than one reading per week)?

3)      How does the week’s readings relate to past readings? 

4)      What does this week’s reading add to the literature?  Does it critique it?

5)      What have you taken from the readings?

6)      What are the implications of the topics covered in the readings?

7)      According to the readings what are the causes of socioeconomic and/or sociopolitical problems in the developing world?

8)      According to the readings what are the consequences of the socioeconomic and/or sociopolitical problems in the developing world?

9)      What are your critiques?

 

Guidelines on Grading Papers:

 

Grade

Total Points

A+

150

A

140

A-/B+

120

B

100

B-C+

80

C

60

C-/D+

40

D

30

 

Academic dishonesty on papers will not be tolerated and will result in an automatic F on the assignment without the opportunity to re-do or re-write the assignment for replacement credit.     

 

Required Text(s):

 

Liam Anderson and Gareth Stansfield. 2004. The Future of Iraq: Dictatorship, Democracy, or Division? ISBN: 1-4039-7144-7

 

Ilan Pappe. 2007. A History of Modern Palestine.  ISBN: 978-0-521-68315-9

 

John Bradley. 2005. Saudi Arabia Exposed: Inside a Kingdom in Crisis. ISBN: 1-4039-7077-7

 

Philip Gourevitch. 1998. We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda. ISBN: 0-312-24335-9

 

Dilip Hiro. 2005. The Iranian Labyrinth. 1-56025-716-4

 

April A. Gordon & Donald L. 2007. Understanding Contemporary Africa fourth edition. ISBN: 978-1-58826-466-4

 

Pamela Constable and Arturo Valenzuela. 1993. A Nation of Enemies: Chile Under Pinochet. ISBN: 0-393-30985-1

 

Robin Kirk. More Terrible Than Death: Drugs, Violence, and America's War in Colombia. ISBN: 1586482076

 

Mike Davis. 2007. Planet of Slums. ISBN:1844671607

 

Stephen Kinzer. 2007. Blood of Brothers: Life and War in Nicaragua. ISBN: 0674025938

 

Jok Madut Jok. 2007. Sudan: Race, Religion and Violence. ISBN: 1851683666

 

 

Method of Teaching:

 

Instruction in this course will follow a Socratic format.  A thorough exchange of ideas among students on various current events, weekly readings or lecture topics is expected.   

 

Student Learning Objectives:

 

After successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

 

  • Explain and understand the differences in the socioeconomic and sociopolitical systems of the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America
  • The ability to compose a college level essay that expresses his/her views and/or ideas as they relate to the weekly readings either.
  • Student is expected to be able to think critically.
  • Realize and understand the significance of being politically and socially aware and active.

 

Additional Information:

 

Extra Credit: Under NO circumstances will extra credit assignments be given to any student attempting to raise his/her final grade.

 

Students with Disabilities: Northern Illinois University is constitutionally required to follow the Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 regarding the provision to provide reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities.  Therefore, if you have a disability that will negatively impact your performance in this course NIU MUST provide you with any needed instructional and/or examination accommodation.  If you need additional assistance please contact me ASAP.  Also, you will need to register with the Center for Access-Ability Resources (CAAR), the designated office on campus to provide services and administer exams with accommodations for students with disabilities. CAAR is located on the fourth floor of the University Health Services building (753-1303).

 

Plagiarism Policy: According to the NIU Undergraduate Catalogue “Students are guilty of plagiarism, intentional or not, if they copy material from books, magazines, or other sources without identifying and acknowledging them. Students guilty of, or assisting others in, either cheating or plagiarism on an assignment, quiz, or examination may receive a grade of F for the course involved and may be suspended or dismissed from the university.”  If you intentionally plagiarize on any paper I will give you an F on that paper.  

 

Religious Observance: If classes or assignments coincide and conflict with your religious observance, please let me know ASAP so that you can be accommodated.

 

Undergraduate Writing Awards: The Department of Political Science will recognize, on an annual basis, outstanding undergraduate papers written in conjunction with 300-400 level political science courses or directed studies. Authors do not have to be political science majors or have a particular class standing. Winners are expected to attend the Department’s spring graduation ceremony where they will receive a certificate and $50.00. Papers, which can be submitted by students or faculty, must be supplied in triplicate to a department secretary by February 28th. All copies should have two cover pages-one with the student’s name and one without the student’s name. Only papers written in the previous calendar year can be considered for the award.

 

Department of Political Science Web Site: Undergraduates are strongly encouraged to consult the Department of Political Science web site on a regular basis. This up-to-date, central source of information will assist students in contacting faculty and staff, reviewing course requirements and syllabi, exploring graduate study, researching career options, tracking department events, and accessing important details related to undergraduate programs and activities. To reach the site, go to http://polisci.niu.edu.

January 12: Course Introduction

 

Topic One: Global Poverty

Mike Davis. 2007. Planet of Slums. ISBN:1844671607

 

Topic Two: Middle East

 

Liam Anderson and Gareth Stansfield. 2004. The Future of Iraq: Dictatorship, Democracy, or Division? ISBN: 1-4039-7144-7

 

Ilan Pappe. 2007. A History of Modern Palestine.  ISBN: 978-0-521-68315-9

 

John Bradley. 2005. Saudi Arabia Exposed: Inside a Kingdom in Crisis. ISBN: 1-4039-7077-7

 

Dilip Hiro. 2005. The Iranian Labyrinth. 1-56025-716-4

 

Jok Madut Jok. 2007. Sudan: Race, Religion and Violence. ISBN: 1851683666

 

Topic Three: Africa

 

April A. Gordon & Donald L. 2007. Understanding Contemporary Africa fourth edition. ISBN: 978-1-58826-466-4

 

Philip Gourevitch. 1998. We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda. ISBN: 0-312-24335-9

 

Topic Four: Latin America

 

Pamela Constable and Arturo Valenzuela. 1993. A Nation of Enemies: Chile Under Pinochet. ISBN: 0-393-30985-1

 

Robin Kirk. More Terrible Than Death: Drugs, Violence, and America's War in Colombia. ISBN: 1586482076

 

Stephen Kinzer. 2007. Blood of Brothers: Life and War in Nicaragua. ISBN: 0674025938